Putney MP Speaks of 'Heart-breaking' Correspondence on Partygate

Fleur Anderson adds to calls for Boris Johnson's resignation

Fleur Anderson raising the issue of Downing Street parties last year
Fleur Anderson raising the issue of Downing Street parties last year


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Putney MP, Fleur Anderson, has spoken about what she describes as the outpouring of anger and grief she has received from her constituents and called for the Prime Minister to resign.

She has detailed the correspondence she has received which told of the sacrifices local people were making while a number of parties were being held at 10 Downing Street during lockdown

She said, “People in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, like the vast majority of people across the country, obeyed the rules set by the Government to keep us all safe. Many of them did so at great personal cost.

“It has been heart-breaking to read the correspondence that has been coming into my inbox with every new revelation.

“One woman told me that just days after the party, she gave birth alone. The only people she could see were other sad and scared women on her ward and the incredible NHS staff who were putting themselves at risk to keep us safe. Her baby was in intensive care and she went through two blood transfusions. She describes it as the single most traumatic experience of her life.

“Imagine her pain upon hearing that whilst she was suffering alone, the Prime Minister and senior figures in his Government were breaking the rules to enjoy a knees-up in Downing Street. It is rubbing salt in the wounds.”

Another local resident said, “My mother died of Covid on Christmas Day last year- she was alone and frightened in an isolation room in hospital on 18th December while the alleged party was happening. She was admitted to hospital for a non-Covid related issue and contracted the disease whilst in there. Both of us had followed the rules and it breaks my heart that I was only able to see her a handful of times last year, and couldn’t be with her in her final moments.”

Another constituent contacted Fleur Anderson to say, “On the 6th December 2020, me and my sister managed to see our father through a window for 30 mins at his nursing home. He found this very difficult and distressing as he could not understand why we would not come in and see him to celebrate his 80th birthday. Throughout the rest of the month he was in and out of hospital and on each occasion we could not see him due to the current guidelines at the time.

“He sadly passed away on the 28th December 2020 from COVID in A&E and again we could not see him and be with him when he passed away. we could only wait in the car park of the hospital for any news.”

Revd Dr Brutus Green of St Margaret’s Putney, said, The rules on funerals have changed frequently. I think in May numbers attending rose from 6 to 15. No wakes of course. I do remember someone pouring themself a glass of wine from the boot of their car outside the crematorium at Putney Vale; Mostly I remember families coming together, not physically touching and then drifting away again.

“In the four weeks leading up to May 20th I took 11 funerals, more than I took in the whole of 2019, at all of which were people who had not said goodbye, could not attend, could not sing, could not touch, could not go for a drink or gather afterwards. This is not my suffering. But I was a witness to great

In December, the Prime Minister said he was “sickened” at the prospect of Downing Street employees holding parties and breaking the covid rules his Government set. It then emerged that he himself had attended a “bring your own booze” party in May 2020.

During that time, strict controls were still in place. Most schools and hospitality venues were shut, and families were prohibited from seeing each other indoors. The Prime Minister is adamant that he thought he was attending what he believed to be a work event and did not believe at the time that he was in breach of the current restrictions.

On the day of this particular Downing Street party, the rules stated, “You can meet one person outside your household in an outdoor, public place, provided that you stay two metres apart.”

Since then, more parties have come to light, including two on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral in April, numerous leaving parties for departing members of staff, a party at Conservative HQ with former Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey in attendance, and most recently a birthday party for Boris Johnson in the Cabinet Office.

Fleur Anderson commented, “Everyone who followed the rules has a story to tell. Whether it’s not being able to attend funerals or say goodbye to loved ones, or struggling to work from home while raising children and seeing to their education.

“We all sacrificed. The Prime Minister broke the rules. It is an insult to the people of this country and he should resign.”

At the time of writing the report into parties at Downing Street has not yet been published and the Prime Minister has declined to comment in detail about the allegations being made until this has been released. The Metropolitan Police, having spoke to the author of the report, Sue Gray, have opened their own investigation into possible breaches of lockdown rules.

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January 28, 2022

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